LTTE to unilaterally observe "goodwill" ceasefire
[TamilNet, Monday, 25 December 2000, 13:35 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers Monday expressed "great dismay" the Sri Lankan government had rejected its offer of a month-long ceasefire over the festive season, but said they would continue to unilaterally observe a truce and urged the government to reconsider its position. "The LTTE will not embark on offensive armed operations during the festive season ending on the 24th January 2001 but it reserves the right to armed defence. We will only engage in defensive war if and when Sri Lanka armed forces launch offensive military operations against our positions," the Tigers said in a statement from their London offices.
Following is the full text of the statement:
"The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in an official statement issued from its headquarters in Vanni, northern Sri Lanka, declared that the organisation would continue to observe cease-fire unilaterally for a month as pledged though the Sri Lanka government has rejected its goodwill gesture.
"The LTTE will not embark on offensive armed operations during the festive season ending on the 24th January 2001 but it reserves the right to armed defence. We will only engage in defensive war if and when Sri Lanka armed forces launch offensive military operations against our positions," the LTTE's statement declared.
"We regret to note that the Sri Lanka government has rejected our offer of a month long cease-fire as a gesture of goodwill during the festive season to facilitate initiatives towards a peace process. We insisted that our offer to cease armed hostilities should be viewed as a genuine expression of goodwill indicating our earnest desire for peace. It was a cordial initiative to create the right environment for peace negotiations. But to our great dismay, Sri Lanka government has dismissed our proposal stating that gestures of goodwill are unnecessary. We wish to emphasise that goodwill measures are essential and crucial to create a cordial atmosphere conducive for talks since there exists a deep distrust, suspicion and profound hostility between the parties in conflict. The very rejection of our goodwill gesture has clearly demonstrated the prevailing distrust and animosity on the part of the Government", the LTTE's statement observed.
"Sri Lankan government believes in the impossible; in the incredible logic that war and peace could go together and wants to engage us in peace talks while continuing the bloody war. We cannot accept this position since it is based on an irreconcilable contradiction. We hold a firm belief that genuine and serious peace talks could not be held under hostile conditions of war, violence and blood bath. Two decades of savage and bloody war has instilled deep animosity and distrust between the protagonists. It is precisely for this reason of historical enmity that we suggest a process of de-escalation and the creation of a congenial environment of mutual trust and goodwill. Sri Lanka should abandon its bellicose attitude and consider our constructive proposal if it is genuinely committed to a negotiated political settlement", the statement further said.
"We have decided to observe cease-fire during this festive month sacred to Christians, Hindus and Muslims to provide another opportunity for peace irrespective of the government's intransigent attitude. We hope that Sri Lanka government will re-consider its position and reciprocate positively with the observance of peace during this period to create cordial conditions leading to a stable cease-fire and direct negotiations. We call upon the international community, particularly the United States, Britain, European nations and India to use their good offices to persuade the Sri Lanka government to abandon its belligerent militaristic approach and seek a conciliatory path for a negotiated political settlement in a climate of peace and goodwill", the LTTE's statement concluded.